The Secret To Super-Clean Teeth? Don't Brush Them

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emmi-dent-toothbrush As kids, we used to have some major issues with brushing our teeth. It was just such a hassle! Our parents used to beg, plead, and sternly reprimand us in an effort to get us to do it on the reg — one harried R29 father got so sick of the constant dental hygiene fight, his stock answer to the whining became "Well, I guess you should only brush the ones you want to keep, then." As we've gotten older, we've gotten better with our dental care (except the flossing, but don't tell our dentists), but we still lack the enthusiasm for our toothbrushes that we have for, say, the latest skin care gadget.

And then we saw this crazy toothbrush, and all that changed. The Emmi-Dent is a toothbrush you don't brush with, yet it promises it will leave your teeth feeling fresh, clean, and sparkling. The brush uses ultrasonic waves that are transmitted through the bristles. Combined with their special "nano bubbles" toothpaste, the brand promises the Emmi-Dent will clean teeth and fight bad breath without damaging sensitive gums or enamel. To use, you apply the toothpaste to the brush and distribute the toothpaste on each tooth. Then, you turn the brush on and place it against your teeth (the brush can cover two or three teeth when held sideways), holding it still for five to 10 seconds before moving on to the next batch. Don't forget to do both sides of your teeth!

Our first thought when seeing this: How is it different from the Sonicare and other teeth cleaning devices on the market now? We asked the brand directly, and here's what they had to say: "Electric and sonic toothbrushes work mechanically — they are rubbing small particles with abrasive materials carried inside the toothpaste against the enamel. Emmi-Dent Ultrasonic Toothbrush uses ultrasound — it's motionless and works without friction or pressure. It delivers the ultrasound through the bristles, and the waves work in conjunction with the proprietary Nano-Bubbles toothpaste, which create millions of nano-bubbles that are thousands of times smaller than bacteria. These nano-bubbles implode through the help of the ultrasound waves, destroying plaque, tartar, food particles, and bacteria."

Obviously we had to give the Emmi-Dent a try, and our experience with it was...interesting. After 30+ years of brushing our teeth a certain way, trying to train our brain to not move the brush against our teeth was harder than it should have been. Once we finally got the hang of it, things went a bit more smoothly. At first, our teeth just didn't feel "clean" in the way we were used to feeling. Gradually, as we got used to the brush, we realized that it was a different kind of clean — the kind where it doesn't feel like your gums have been abused and your enamel pressure-washed into submission. And, no one ran screaming away from us when we opened our mouths to talk, so we're assuming it made our breath tolerable.

Now, we're actually finding it hard to not use the Emmi-Dent — regular toothbrushes feel too harsh. While we're not exactly psyched about oral care per se, we can say we're at least a step above tolerant now that we have this cool gadget on our sink.

Emmi-Dent Ultrasonic Toothbrush, $189, available at Emmi-Dent.